The HSE has announced that they will be conducting their latest inspection initiative and it will target London sites. The inspections which start this week will focus primarily on health, and asbestos work, in particular, looking at the measures in place to protect workers from occupational lung disease when carrying out common construction tasks. The inspections will be taking up until the 17th February and will help combat ill health from asbestos and silica dust. If you are unsure about Asbestos on a site in the London area, let us support you. We are here to help you remain safe and compliant.
Safer Sphere has achieved the Association for Project Safety (APS) Corporate Membership for the third year in a row without any non-conformities. This is a wonderful achievement for the business and it is down to the hard work and dedication of our fantastic team!
We are delighted to reveal that we have been appointed on the development of the new Kingsmere Retail Park, formerly known as Bicester Gateway Retail Park, in Oxford Road, Bicester. The project started this week with completion scheduled for late October 2019. We will be supporting Leach Rhodes Walker on the scheme in the role of Principal Designer Advisor
Safer Sphere is delighted to reveal that we have been appointed on the new Barry’s Bootcamp Gym project in Canary Wharf. We will be acting in the roles of Prinicpal Designer Advisor to Recom Solutions and Client CDM Advisor to Barry’s Bootcamp. Safer Sphere was previously appointed on the recent fit-out of Barry’s Bootcamp in Manchester and delighted to continue the project team in London.
Safer Sphere will be supporting 5Plus Architects in the role of Principal Designer Advisor on the refurbishment of 100 Barbirolli Square in Manchester. The appointment comes off the back of the success of the recent refurbishment of 101 Barbirolli Square where we also supported 5Plus Architects on the project.
The proposals include reconfiguring the existing entrance and reception area to include a new tenant hub with coffee bar offer; converting a level of the basement car park into a new office floor, reconfiguring the atrium and dropping the atrium floor down a level, creating a large cycle hub with changing rooms accessed directly from the street and at roof level extending the top floor office whilst creating two roof terraces. The design increases the office space to circa 150,000 ft2.
The scheme has now been submitted for planning and work will start on site in 2019 with completion in 2020.
The Construction (Design & Management) Regulations (CDM 2015) are the primary set of rules governing construction projects. It applies to all construction and building work and includes every type of project from new build and conversions to refurbishment and demolition.
Part of the law requires those in charge of construction projects to carry out operations without posing a danger to the public. This includes other workers who can potentially be affected by the construction work.
According to HSE inspector David Kirkpatrick, construction companies must make it a priority to secure their construction sites to prevent access by unauthorised parties. These sites can be full of hazards that vulnerable people such as children may not be able to fully understand.
Under CDM 2015, the project client should provide all necessary information about the following particulars:
- Site boundaries
- Usage of land bordering the construction site
- Site access
- Steps to prevent unauthorised parties from accessing the site
This information will guide the measures taken by contractors. Key issues that need to be addressed are:
- Managing access to the site
- Any hazards that could present a danger to the public
- Vulnerable groups that may be affected
All construction sites must have:
- Defined measures to manage access across designated boundaries and,
- Steps to prevent unauthorised people from gaining access to the work site
While there has been a decline in the numbers of children being injured or killed on construction sites, complacency must be avoided. Two or three children die every year after accessing building sites, and many more are seriously injured.
It’s not just children who are at risk but also other members of the public, such as passers-by, can be injured by:
- Tools or materials that fall outside the boundaries of the job site
- Tripping and falling into trenches
- Being hit by moving construction vehicles
For maximum efficacy, the pre-construction information from the client should include:
- All project boundaries
- Information about adjacent land use
- Access information
- Measures to keep unauthorised people out
To manage site access, the following are required.
To manage public risk, boundaries must be defined by suitable fencing. The fence type should be consistent with the type of site and the surroundings. Contractors need to determine what the perimetre will consist of, supply the fencing, and maintain it once erected.
Questions that contractors must ask themselves include:
- What is the type and nature of the construction work being performed
- How heavily populated is the area?
- Who will need to visit the site while work is being carried out?
- Will children be attracted to the site?
- What are the characteristics of the site? For example, location, proximity to other buildings, current site boundaries.
In populated areas, this will typically mean a mesh fence around two metres high or hoarding around the construction site.
The primary contractor must take adequate measures to prevent unauthorised parties from accessing the site.
- People may be restricted to certain areas or authorised to access the entire site.
- The contractor must explain applicable site rules to authorised parties and perform any required induction.
- They may have to accompany or supervise some authorised parties while on site or accessing certain areas.
Hazards that Present a Risk to the Public
Many construction site hazards present a risk to visitors and the general public. Contractors must consider if they exist on a certain project and, if so, how they will manage them.
- Falling objects: Objects must not be able to fall outside the site boundaries. Contractors may have to use brick guards, netting, toe-boards, fans, and covered walkways.
- Site vehicles. Contractors must ensure that pedestrians cannot be hit by vehicles entering or leaving the site.
- Access equipment. Measures must be taken to prevent people outside the site boundary from being hit while scaffolding and other access equipment is being erected, used, and dismantled.
- Stacking and storing materials. Reduce the risks associated with storing materials by storing them within the perimetre of the site, ideally in a secure location or away from the fencing.
- Excavations and openings. People can be hurt if they fall into excavati9ns, stairwells, and other open areas.
- Other hazards include road works, slips, trips, and falls in pedestrian areas, hazardous substances, plant equipment and machinery, dust, noise, and vibration, and energy sources such as electricity.
Children, the elderly, and people with certain disabilities may need special consideration, especially if work is being done in locations like hospitals and schools.
Children can be attracted to construction sites as potential play areas. Constractors must take all reasonable steps to keep them from accessing the site and endangering themselves.
The steps below are especially important for child safety:
- When work is finished for the day, secure the site thoroughly
- Cover or erect barriers around pits and excavations
- Immobilise vehicles and lock them away if possible
- Store building materials such as cement bags, manhole rings, and pipes so that they cannot tip or roll over
- Remove access ladders from scaffolds and excavations
- Make sure that all hazardous substances are locked away
Safer Sphere are able to advise on any aspect of CDM 2015.
Safer Sphere is proud to be supporting UMC Architects and Winvic who have secured the contract to build a new UK headquarters in Tolworth for LIDL.
The 250,000 sq. ft. building will be just five miles from LIDL’s current HQ in Wimbledon and is expected to take two years to complete. We have been appointed as Principal Designer Advisor on the project and we look forward to working with the team and seeing the build progress.
Safer Sphere continues to provide health and safety support on another hospital project for ENGIE. We have been appointed on the refurbishment of two critical care units at the Royal Blackburn Hospital. The scope of works consists of the repainting of the wards, replacement of the floors, replacement of damaged wall protection and replacement of all ceiling tiles. We will be acting as Prinicpal Designer Advisor on the project.
Safer Sphere is pleased to have been appointed on the new highways works on Oxford Road (A41) in Bicester. The highways project will see amendments to the existing A41 road to form a new access junction to facilitate a new retail development. The project works include forming new lanes, junction, new traffic signals and signage. Safer Sphere has been appointed the roles of Principal Designer Advisor and CDM Client Advisor on the highway works.
The health and safety needs of a construction site can change from one year to the next, which is why audits need to be carried out on a regular basis.
This routine diligence helps to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of employees within an organisation by detecting areas where improvement is needed. It also ensures that construction companies remain compliant with their legal duties and responsibilities.
What is a health and safety audit?
A health and safety audit is an independent and methodical assessment of a construction site’s processes. The documented results are measured against mandated criteria to confirm that the site managers are upholding health and safety standards.
In general, a construction site audit will review factors like the following to ensure a safe environment for workers:
- Procedures involving hazardous materials
- Safe and proper use of equipment
- Presence of hazards such as exposed live wires, holes that have not been barricaded off, and debris in the work area
When you’ve been informed that your construction site is scheduled for an audit, here are some steps you can take to make it as conscientious and safe as possible. Although these processes should be in place and remain in place throughout the construction.
Post safety notices
Posting safety notices is required on all construction sites. This includes clearly identifying and marking all dangerous materials and hazards, from toxic chemicals to wet paint, so that there can be no mistake as to what they are. The single most common cause of accidents on construction sites is a failure to communicate.
Create clearly marked walkways that help site visitors and inspectors avoid hazardous work areas, such as places where falling debris might be a risk. By the same token, protect workers from accidentally interfering with and injuring each other by isolating all work areas that could overlap. You can do this by posting temporary barriers and caution tape where appropriate.
Have management tour the site
Arrange for company managers to carry informal safety inspections at a construction site to identify any areas that may need attention. This internal auditing team could include your company’s managing director and a senior level manager from your client’s firm.
New sets of eyes can spot problems that people who work on the site every day may miss. Any potential safety issues that come to light during these inspections must be acted on immediately.
Run PPE checks
All personnel on a construction site should be wearing the correct Personal Protective Equipment or PPE, and know where it is stored.
This equipment, which may include safety hats, protective glasses, steel-toed shoes or boots, and protective gloves, must be kept in a clean and dry place that is also easy to access.
Designated employees should inspect all PPE every week to confirm that it is being properly cleaned and maintained and that there are sufficient quantities of replacement items for any equipment that breaks. Record each check to create an inspection record.
Prepare site checklists
All construction vehicles on a job site should be checked on a regular basis by competent and qualified personnel. Engage a mechanic to carry out a planned maintenance programme that involves a thorough check of each vehicle and essential components like steering and braking systems. Certain equipment falls under LOLER (lifting equipment regulations) so is subject to specific testing at predefined intervals.
Complement this type of professional inspection by requiring each worker to inspect a vehicle before they climb into the driver’s seat or take up the wheel. This combination of professional and in-house inspections can turn up issues before they become major problems and reach the attention of H&S auditors.
Inspect equipment regularly
Plant facilities aren’t the only areas that need inspecting. On a construction site, have each worker check things like electrical equipment, lifting straps, and hand tools for defects or excessive signs of wear before use. For example, if a safety hat is cracked or the handle on a hammer is loose, someone could easily be hurt.
Carry out safety inspections
Arrange for the construction site project and/or safety inspector to carry out a more formal safety audit, accompanied by site workers if possible. These types of inspections could include steps such as safety spot checks, where inspecting one aspect of on-site safety can provide an idea of site-wide safety conditions.
These inspections accomplish a dual purpose: to identify areas of concern and demonstrate the commitment of senior management to the safety of all workers on the construction site. When properly conducted, they can enhance trust between workers and management.
For maximum efficiency, schedule these higher-profile inspections to support the informal management tours and to prepare in advance for independent safety audits.
Follow up in scheduled intervals
When these actions are collected into a workplace system, it ensures the safety and well-being of everyone working on a construction site. Your system should consider the following factors:
- How often an inspection should take place
- Who is responsible for scheduling them
- Who is responsible for carrying them out
- The abilities and qualifications of those carrying out the inspections
- What information is included on the checklists
- Any actions that will arise from these inspections
- Who is responsible for correcting any issues uncovered during the inspection
- The time frame for carrying out inspections
Each time a construction project begins, it’s worth compiling an audit schedule to ensure that all aspects of the work are being reviewed for safety and quality throughout the project duration as opposed to the same few areas that are traditionally targeted.
When you create your own system for a construction site health & safety audit, it ensures that any issues that develop on a job site never evolve into problems with catastrophic consequences. Construction contractors who don’t properly fulfill their obligations for on-site safety may risk significant penalties or loss of contracts. It also stands to reason that sites with poor safety conditions are dangerous to workers by causing them to risk injury or worse.
Safer Sphere are able to advise on any aspect of CDM 2015.